Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2012

Here is the list--only a step above actually banning a book.  Take a look at this year's offerings.  Have you or your kids read any of them?  All of them? 

The American Library Association (ALA) has released its annual list of the most frequently challenged library books of the year. They have linked to free samples of all the books on the list–follow the links below to read these controversial books yourself.

Captain Underpants
The list was part of the ALA’s 2013 State of America’s Libraries Report. During the past year, the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom received 464 reports of challenged books. Here’s more from the report:
In California, a school committee voted to remove the Stephen King novella “Different Seasons” from Rocklin High School library shelves. The lone dissenter on that committee was 17-year-old student Amanda Wong, who continued to fight the ban and spoke against the decision at a later school board meeting. After hearing Wong’s concerns that the removal “opens a door to censoring other materials,” the district superintendent overturned the committee’s decision and returned the book to the Rocklin High School library’s collection.
Thirteen Reasons Why

10 Most Frequently Challenged Library Books of 2013

1. Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
Reasons: offensive language, unsuited for age group
2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
3. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group
4. Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James

The Kite Runner
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit
5. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Reasons: homosexuality, unsuited for age group
6. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Reasons: homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
7. Looking for Alaska by John Green
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
8. Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz
Reasons: unsuited for age group, violence
9. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit
10. Beloved by Toni Morrison
Reasons: sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violent

And Tango Makes Three

Again, whether we approve of the books listed above, and lists in the past and those to come, we must remember there is an inherent danger in getting close to the act of wholesale banning.  

Of course, parents have the right and expectation of approving books their children read.  But for an entire community to mandate what citizens can read does not belong in a democracy.  What do you think?     

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